‘Tonight Show’ Drama Is Target Of New Miniseries

by | May 1, 2010 at 9:06 AM | The Tonight Show, TV News

Johnny Carson on 'The Tonight Show,' 1984 (NBC)

Johnny Carson on 'The Tonight Show,' 1984 (NBC)

A TV miniseries about a very colorful era in late-night television is in the works, but it doesn’t involve Jay, Dave and Conan.

Rather, ‘The King of Late Night,’ based on Robert Metz’s 1980 tome ‘The Tonight Show,’ will explore the origins of NBC’s premiere after-hours talker and its first three hosts – Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, says Deadline.com.

“Steve, Jack and Johnny all battled their personal demons as well as network executives,” says producer Kevin J. Cleary. “Network executives have been screwing with talent for a long, long time…. The only one who beat then at their own game was Johnny Carson, who got to own the show.”

Cleary likens the mini to a “Rat Pack version of ‘The Late Shift,’” the 1996 HBO movie that chronicled ‘The Tonight Show’s semi-controversial christening of Jay Leno as Carson’s successor, thus snubbing David Letterman.

Thus far, a treatment for the mini – which is likely to wind up on cable – is done and producers are meeting with potential writers and directors. Casting is not yet underway.